23 November 2011

Wedding Wednesday: New Bridal Tiaras

Royal weddings are prime showcases for heirloom tiaras - after all, a girl does need something borrowed - but they're also often showcases for new tiaras. Whether you are honoring a new gift, you just feel like something new, or the family was plain out of tiaras for the new girl to have, there are plenty of weddings that have brought us new jewels to gaze upon.

Left to Right: Princess Claire of Belgium, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
The Belgian royal family is not sitting on a huge stash of tiaras, so when Claire Coombs married in, they had to rustle up something new for her (reported by some to be a converted necklace from Queen Elisabeth). Norway has a fair amount of diadems, but not really anything that would fill the "all-purpose, small, and diamond" category for a new Crown Princess, so they bought one when Mette-Marit joined up. And though you might disagree with me, I've always thought that was part of the reason Crown Princess Mary got a newly purchased tiara too. Apart from the tiara that now sits on Princess Marie's head, smallish diamond gems that are not already in constant use seem to have been nonexistent.

L to R: Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent; Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg (then a Princess of Belgium)
I'm afraid the days of lavish wedding gift jewel hauls are gone for most brides, but once upon a time getting multiple tiaras for your wedding was commonplace for a royal bride. Honoring a relative by wearing their gift on your big day is always smart, but perhaps even smarter is honoring the institutions that give you gifts. Greek Princess Marina wore a fringe tiara given to her by her new home, the City of London, while Belgian Princess Joséphine-Charlotte honored her home country by wearing both the Belgian Scroll Tiara and the Congo Diamond Tiara to marry into Luxembourg's royal family.

L to R: Sarah, Duchess of York; Princess Margaret; Empress Farah of Iran; Crown Princess Sarah of Brunei
Sometimes, for whatever reason, you just want something new. Sarah Ferguson wore a new tiara from Garrard, and Princess Margaret's Politmore Tiara was bought specially prior to her wedding day. Farah Diba wed in the Noor-ol-Ain Tiara which was created by Harry Winston for the occasion. I'd wager a guess that the tiara worn by Sarah Salleh for her wedding to Brunei's Crown Prince was freshly made too. All of these ladies could have worn something from their respective royal families, but for whatever reason - and I would guess the reasoning here is quite diverse - they opted for new instead.

L to R: Sophie, Countess of Wessex; Princess Máxima of the Netherlands; Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
Finally, if you can't get something new, you settle for a new configuration of old stuff instead. Sophie wore a (new to us) configuration of old pieces when she became the Countess of Wessex, and Máxima put a new spin on an old gem by topping a pearl button tiara with diamond stars instead. Her sister-in-law Mabel did a similar thing by using the diamond-only setting of the family's large sapphire tiara.

As lovely and meaningful as traditions can be, I suppose there's something to be said for making your own mark, or putting special memories together with a piece that you'll call your own for the rest of your marriage. My personal favorite version is Máxima's - that sly little magpie was already showing us just how much fun she intended to have with the family jewel box.

If it was you...would you rather have an old tiara or a new one for your wedding day?